Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Let it Go! What Businesses Can Learn from Frozen!

My life consists of Disney, Pixar, and Animated movies on repeat these days. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have watched some of my favorites over and over and over again. Wreckit Ralph, The Little Mermaid, Incredibles, and Despicable Me are on autopilot in my home. So how do I keep a work life balance, I think that most days I just give that up. Perhaps that is only an illusion, anyway... Besides, I find I hone my marketing strategy skills by learning from these precious gems, these amazing sources of truth, character, and imagination. My son's most recent obsession is Frozen. He thinks that Elsa is his wife, and insists that only he can sing her parts. I love that. I love the power it has over him. I love the message that it sends us, our family, and me.

I have become really talented at identifying key points that we can all take from these animated professors. And today, Frozen has given me perhaps, some of my most favorite. Here are three great lessons that businesses, and marketing strategists can take and apply from Frozen.  I hope they have the same affect on you as they have on me!

1. Don't go it alone: Success in life and in relationships is all about the relationships you build and enjoy while journeying the unknown. Those relationships enrich any field, any situation, any circumstance you might find yourself in. As in life, or in marketing, leaning, leveraging, and relying on relationships for your success is paramount. Without them you will not be happy, complete, or successful. All GOOD and well implemented strategies have to engage, encourage, and embrace them. Build relationships with people who seek relationships. Relationships are a skill, and it's easier to develop that skill with others who seek to develop that skill as well.

2. Face your Fears: Change is scary. Success is scary. Pain is scary. We cannot get to the next level, the next phase, the next pinnacle in our business, or personal life without risk. Risk can sometimes leave us in a vulnerable spot. Sometimes we might even fail, but risk can also give us that experience, expertise, and understanding that we might not have gained otherwise. Face your Fears, step out on faith, trust your relationships, and build your legacy based on hope and trust, not fear. Risks always produce more opportunity than being paralyzed with fear ever will.

3. Let it Go: Sometimes are experiences tie us down. Sometimes what we gain from them feeds are fears, keeps us from starting over and trying again. All good strategies fail sometimes. All efforts aren't always realized. There is not a fool proof plan that works with any and every audience, but a strategy that evolves, changes, withstands hard times, and moves forward will always win. Let go of the things that didn't work, but don't quit trying. Don't quit being. Don't quit working. Don't quit. 

I love that my little guys learns these ideas from a Disney movie. But more than that, I love that these things transcend our home. They are tried and true life lessons, and we can apply them to our day to day, our life strategies, and our relationship strategies. We can apply them to the course we take in general and always find worth. That's what I call a lesson worth learning...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just Keep Swimming...

Sometimes Social Steering seems like an uphill battle with very little results, and other times Social seems like a language you have always spoken, wherever you find yourself, Don't give up. Five reasons to keep swimming according to Nemo (and my 4 year old Lucas).

1. You won't reach your goals if you quit
Learning a new way of communicating can be challenging and uncomfortable. Some things will certainly look and feel unnatural until you become familiar with practice. Take for instance the hashtag #: it can be both #powerful and #redundant. When used appropriately and strategically, it can emphasize your point and help you hone in on specific queues and triggers. However you use it, make sure you use it.

2. How can you measure any success if you never get into the water. 
Most professionals will tell you that you cannot learn to swim unless you get in. Social is no different. Because this is a conversation first, remember that conversations are fluid. If you make mistakes, humble yourself, and keep talking. Getting in the water gives you the tools and understanding of the environment. It poses the challenges and risks first hand and it gives you the skills and confidence to overcome them, or at least face them. Social is talk! Get in the conversation and maneuver through.

3. Risks open us up to new realities, richer and deeper insight. My son and I have a  favorite part of Finding Nemo. It is the part when Dori tells the sea turtles what great obstacles Marlin has conquered. That story travels so far that it reaches Nemo in the fishtank. This is marketing. When you fight through to achieve an outcome, the message itself is what gives your customer confidence. Everyone wants to work with a hero, and overcomer, a success. Whatever motivates you to push through, keep your eyes on the prize. You have nothing to lose.

4. The Payoff shows itself in the relationships that bring us both personal satisfaction and business.
When we finally get to our goal, the reward is well worth it. It's the difference in working a job and working a passion. A passion is always fulfilling at the end. Make sure you take the road that leads you to your passions, and make that road the only one you travel. Your work will thank you, and your clients will as well.

5. A mind is a terrible thing to waste!  Learning keeps you alert, awake, and ready to Go. Learn something new everyday. Learn how to inspect, examine, and apply what you learn. But most of all, learn how to discern when something you have learned is not for you! Critical thinking is something that we can learn and use to grow our business. It can save us, our work, and our clients from wasted time and resources! Be on the lookout for opportunities to invest in new solutions, but be aware of solutions that are just murky waters.

Strategy is all about developing a pattern that is holistic and implementing it consistently over time. Do you need help with this? I know someone...


Friday, January 31, 2014

What your Grandma Never told you about Relationship Management

Grandma always said; mind your own business, do not gossip, respect your elders, keep your mouth shut, choose your friends wisely. Perhaps that works on the playground, but not in a social business world.

CRM says:

  • Everyone is your friend and their business is your business
  • Gossip is a note that you need to highlight in RED, and share discretely with your team members! 
  • Respect your elders and all the other relationships you encounter by connecting with them on their terms, the way they prefer
  • Open your mouth and log what you say ~ make sure what you are saying is relevant to your listener and benefits your goals for them
  • Choose your friends wisely and tag the rest of your contacts as vendors, prospects, alliances, or otherwise needed to remind you that not all relationships have the same value, but all relationships have value.
CRM says not to:
  • Clique, classify, or corner yourself into a reputation that you don't want to represent you. By handling all appropriate relationships in a strategic way you have more control over your customer experience.
  • Be your own data aggregation tool! That will be an epic Fail! Trust a technology sweet that will give you some integration and streamlined analysis
  • Work with someone without properly understanding the relationship. If you have no way to monitor or reference your history with a person, than how can you expect to classify them as a good partner! 
You can't live without Grandma or CRM, they both have their places in your life. But you spend more than 8 hours a day developing your business value, shouldn't you trust that to someone more relevant! Sorry Grandma! New Media Wins this one!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Don't just say Hi... Let me know you want this, too!

Engagement is key when practicing Social Etiquette!

As we attempt to start off the New Year on the right foot, engagement is the key element on whether you will live or die in this new social world. If you don't socialize, they won't know who you are! Get out there and mingle.

In this blog post I will give you 5 Ways to be loved in the social stratosphere, and 5 Ways to be hated when posting content. I have learned them all first hand, and can tell you it has often been at epic fail. If this is you too, there's hope! Get back up and dust off those boot straps. Today is a new day, and there is a new you to reveal. Let's do it!

Ways to be loved:
1. Always respond to real communication. Auto responders are nice, but they aren't doing you any favors. No response is the same as an auto response so get in the habit of talking back.
2. Comment on good ideas, inspiration, and relevant subject matter. You can do this on blogs, twitter, and many other relevant sites. Take some time to do it, because it makes the blogger more welcoming and more welcomed. All the way around it is a win-win.
3. Feedback: Leave it! This is a new game with a lot of rules, and none of them are established. Feedback is key. When you see someone doing something well, praise it. Try to steer clear of generic praising, and be specific on the aspect of engagement that affected you. They will appreciate it and your sincere effort to engage them.
4. Listen. I know, I know, I know. I talk about this all the time, but I cannot stress it enough. There are no real experts here. Only really proficient people who ALWAYS have something else to learn while teaching. Be the LEARNER! It goes a long long way.
5. Echo! You may think that re-tweeting and re-tweeting is generic, inauthentic, and the cheap way out, but it isn't. Share the love! Pick many thought leaders to re-tweet and not just one. Be versatile, be open, be expressive. Re-tweeting is the highest form of compliment in the social arena. Say it loud! Say it over! Say it with BIG sunshine and roses!

Ways to be hated:
1. Only post what others post. If you re-tweet everything someone else says, you are a copy cat. Go find your own stuff.
2. Don't talk back, don't respond to questions, don't acknowledge interest, don't make a sound. This is the first indication that you might not be real, and others will leave you fast. In a way they are right. What are you doing here if you are ignoring the conversation. Ease dropping. No one likes a snooper.
3. Post 10 times the same message, in the same time slot. This is certain to get you a shout. When using auto-posting features, be careful of glitches. They can sometimes leave you on the social floor with your groove on, while the music is off and everyone is watching. Pay ATTENTION to what you post.
4. When researching your data, try to read it. There is nothing more irrelevant than delivering an opposing message because you liked the subject matter. Be careful, watch what you say.
5. When promoting the tools you use, be careful not to promote the tools you don't use. This will certainly get you black listed for being inauthentic. It's OK to be a brand ambassador for something you wish for, just to don't carry on like you already have it. You will be figured out and outed real quick.

Stick by these lessons this new year and you are certain to be on your way to an amazing outcome! I look forward to going there with you, if I can commit to these myself. Either way, my boot straps are dusted off. See you at the finish line.


Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Reasons CRM Projects Fail...

Taking a look at the whole story...

I was sitting in the office of a new prospect just the other day, and the inglorious topic of software blunders came up as a topic of conversation. This particular professional was carrying on about how they have found most software they have implemented in the past to be a real headache for users: filled with bugs, not user friendly, and poorly designed. When I looked around their office, I took note of many clues as to why this person felt this way. It led me to write this post. Here are the five most evident reasons software fails:

1. NO Implementation Strategy ~ This is not just the Why, but the How, and the What. They need to be clearly defined to measure not only the proportion of need for this software, but the methods to how it will solve problems, meet needs, achieve goals, and fix something that is broken. Many time I find that clients who sign on for new technology without strategy, haven't properly assessed the situation as a whole. They sign on to fix one thing, and create a slew of other concerns in the aftermath. There has to be a good strategy behind any successful implementation.

2. NO Desire to Change ~ Let's face it, any new addition to your already comfortable system is change. Change that is not embraced corporately will create a bigger problem for any company. Data is our most precious commodity, and it needs to be preserved and protected. Companies that resist change are usually not good candidates for successful implementation unless they change their thinking.

3. NO Proper Investigation ~ You can't be an expert at understanding the ins and outs of technology and business process unless that is what you do... for a living. Working with experts can help you find and address the right questions, give you all the options, and help you understand thoroughly the pros, cons, benefits, and differences. This is desirable in order to make a solution last, and not have to revisit the existing issues that were not solved or that were newly created over and over.

4. NO Appropriate Training ~ I tell my clients that training, and not just software training, but process training is 95% of a CRM solution. I have gotten to a point where I will refuse to perform an implementation without commitment to train in most corporate environments. The reason should be so obvious. People who are busy don't have time to teach themselves a new software and a new process. They need the method predetermined for them. This is not only fair, but it is necessary. You cannot expect a person to develop a system for use and a application on their own, and yet so many companies do this to their employees. This can cause anxiety about implementing any of the right software tools because of the wrong software experience.

5. NO User Feedback and Follow-up ~ This is critical to pass or fail. Like most technology, once you get your users on board, they become your biggest evangelist. Once the see the vision, tackle the mission, and embrace the tools, they drive your productivity sky high! This is what we want. This is what we like as Software Experts! We want to see the user commit. You have to engage the user to get them to marry the strategy. They have to be able to work, refute, develop, and rework the technology to best fit their roles and needs. They are as diverse as there are options! This is why feedback and communication can seal your deal. If you want a technology solution that delivers, include the users in its development and redevelopment. You won't be sorry.

Think of your technology as not the solution, but the method to your philosophy. Get a really good expert to help you define it in ways that can be interpreted through sophisticated software tools. As you do this, you will realize that your technology has endless possibilities and immense value to you, because of your timeless and developed philosophies underlying it. Then and only then will almost any software solution you implement will be a success.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy Holidays to my Faithful Clients and Friends


I have so many things to be thankful for this Christmas, but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge each of my faithful clients and friends this Christmas. You make my work and my life enriched in immeasurable ways. I look forward to another wonderful year together.

Merry Christmas,


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Marketing Lessons from the Polar Express

I love looking at this face. I dream about it. I meditate on it. It is by far one of the richest parts of being his mother. POLAR_BELIEVE It occurred to me that there is a magic in this Holiday Season I had never experienced before. It is a small window in time unique to me, unique to him. It is a window especially designed for us, for our life and our memories. It will expire before long, but it will never leave us. It is ours to treasure. It is ours to embrace.


This window in time reminded me of three valuable things to try to capture in my message. The message of life, and the message of work. This message is the expression of your heart. The expression of meaning that penetrates another, that locks them in and focuses them on what’s really important. Three lessons I discovered in The Polar Express by way of the face of my child are as follows:

1. Believe in the magic. Imagination and creativity are forces for good in the world. We can use them to create an experience that will transcend time both in our lives and in our hearts, and expressly in the hearts of others.

2. Engage with the message. Create a message that compels others to encounter, embrace, and engage with awe, excitement, and anticipation. There is something so powerful about the feeling that underlines truth that you cannot help yourself but to desire it over and over again. No matter how many times we watch this magic, it is more and more magical every time. Over time, it becomes fixed in our minds and our hearts, a very poignant part of who we are in the greater story of our life and message.

3. Lead with purity, integrity, and courage. Take risks for another. Be vulnerable, be honest. Take a moment to listen to stories. Take a moment to wear their message on your heart. Let your message become a message that identifies with others. Let that message create your value. Let that message become your worth.

During the year, we have little time to reflect on how well or how limited our impact is and was. Take a moment this season to watch, reflect, listen, and dwell. Those things are the medicine for the soul. Infuse a penetrated soul in all you do, and create for yourself a magical experience that never ends. Look closely at that captivated face. You aren’t the only one watching.

Happy Holidays,